Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Release Date: December 26th, 2008
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Summary: "Sixteen-year-old Eon has a dream, and a mission. For years, he's been studying sword-work and magic, toward one end. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye-an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.
But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a twelve-year-old boy. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.
When Eon's secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic...and her life."
Review: Eon: Dragoneye Reborn was published quite a while ago, so it's been out there for some time. I never got around to reading it - or rather, I wasn't reading much YA in 2008. I think I picked it up now because I found the sequel, Eona: The Last Dragoneye (which was published in April of this year). I will be superficial for a moment and say that it was the cover that initially attracted me to the book, but what I discovered inside Eon: Dragoneye Reborn was wonderful! I think a lot of the time, YA paranormal can be poorly written and well, cheezy. Neither one of those things can be said for Ms. Goodman's book.
The premise of the story is incredibly unique. It centers around a young girl (who masquerades as a young boy) living in a magical world (literally "magic"al). In this world, dragons exist. There are twelve of them, and each has their own Dragoneye - a man who has a special, magical connection to their own dragon. Rat Dragon, Horse Dragon, Tiger Dragon, Rabbit Dragon, etc. For the past 500 years, one of the twelve dragons has been missing - the Dragon Dragon (or Mirror Dragon). But the Mirror Dragon has resurfaced...and connected with Eona. It's definitely original, and I love that. Honestly, where else in YA paranormal fiction will you find transsexuals, warrior eunuchs, and mystical dragons all in one?
One thing really impressed me in this book: I feel like YA paranormal fiction tends to be unrelatable, but I related Eona! She's trying to find her place in the world, struggling to come to terms with her identity. So many teenage girls can relate to that feeling. This is why I think Ms. Goodman accomplished something great with Eon: Dragoneye Reborn. She's made a seemingly unrelatable genre relatable.
On a last note, I wanted to point out something that makes this book stick out amongst others in its category. There is no romance. In a genre where so much of the audience is teenage girls, authors almost always try to attract readers with romance and bad boys. I actually, at the moment, cannot recall a single case where the main character of a novel did not have some sort of love interest. In fact, the main character usually has more than one love interest! That is why Eon: Dragoneye Reborn impressed me. With no love interest holding her back, Eona is the epitome of a strong female lead character. I will play devil's advocate, though, and mention that it would have been nearly impossible for Ms. Goodman to incorporate a love interest for Eona in this book, with Eona masked as Eon for over 350 of the 500 pages.
Though it is not a difficult read, it is a pretty thick book, so be prepared to spend a few hours diving into this one. In my humble opinion, it's worth it. Personally, I am excited to read Eona: The Last Dragoneye.
P.S. It is probably worth mentioning that lovers of Tamora Pierce's work will undoubtedly love Ms. Goodman's Eon. Both are great writers, and both clearly have a penchant for mystical tales.
Grade: A (I will say that I'm not giving it an A+ because 200 of those 500 pages could have been cut without damage to the story. There was much too much description for my taste, but I'm sure plenty of readers love that kind of detail. Once I hit more than two sentences of description and adjectives, I tend to skim over...)
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
I have a rather large stack of unread books on my bedroom floor. On the top of that stack are two books: one sequel and one trequel (I may have just made that word up. Definition: trequel [tree-kwuhl] –noun; a literary work that is complete in itself but continues the narrative of a sequel; i.e. the third book in a series). I read both of these pretty quickly, thanks to the time on the metro it takes me to commute to work. The sequel is Supernaturally by Kiersten White, which follows Paranormalcy. And Sirensong is a trequel – the third book in the Faeriewalkers Series by Jenna Black. Sadly, neither one of them really blew me away.
Sirensong: A Faeriewalker Novel by Jenna Black
Released: July 5th, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Summary: "When Dana is invited to Faerie to be officially presented at the Seelie Court, it’s no easy decision. After all, everyone knows Titania, the Seelie Queen, wants her dead. But Titania claims not to be the one behind the death threats; and her son, Prince Henry, makes the decision a whole lot easier when he suggests Dana might be arrested for (supposedly) conspiring with her aunt Grace to usurp the Seelie throne. So she and her father better do as they're told.
The journey through Faerie is long—and treacherous. Dana thought it would be a good idea to have friends along, but her sort-of-boyfriend, Ethan, and her bodyguard’s son, Keane, just can’t seem to get along, and Kimber’s crush on Keane isn’t making things any easier. When a violent attack separates Dana from their caravan, the sexy Erlking saves her just in the nick of time . . . and makes it clear that he hasn’t given up on making her his own." ....read the rest here!
Review: After Shadowspell ended with such an intense plot twist, I was interested in seeing where Ms. Black was planning on going with Sirensong. The first hundred pages or so held my interest, but by the time I got to the last couple chapters, I felt like putting the book down. The ending wasn't bad, per se, but I was disappointed with the way Ms. Black diffused the plot twist. That plot twist was what made me buy Sirensong, but I was let down! It all works out in the end, the plot twist no longer an issue. I wanted fireworks, but all I got was sputtering sparks and smoke.
There are, however, two redeeming qualities: 1) Dana is a pretty strong female lead and 2) the covers for this series are really well done. I’m not positive if Ms. Black is planning on writing a fourth novel for this series, but I don’t think I’ll buy it if she does. I sincerely hope that this is not the direction YA paranormal fiction is going in – I mean, three possible love interests? How realistic.
Supernaturally by Kiersten White
Release Date: July 26th, 2011
Publisher: Harper Teen
Summary: “Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.
But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.
So much for normal.”
Review: There are certain parts of Supernaturally that I liked, and certain parts that made me cringe a bit. I’ll start with the parts I liked. The ending was the best part of this book, in my opinion. That’s mainly because it was a surprise (and I love surprises!). Jack, a new, interesting character, was introduced at the beginning of the book. With Lend and Evie’s relationship getting kind of rocky, Ms. White had me convinced that Jack would be a new love interest for Evie. Without spoiling it too much, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the ending of Supernaturally. Unfortunately, that was one of the only things I liked about the book. I feel it’s necessary to just bullet point the things I “cringed” at.
· Lend, Evie’s boyfriend, was mysterious and fascinating in Paranormalcy (the first book in the series). Although I will say that their relationship progressed at a believable rate, Lend was just too sweet for my tastes. He lost the spice that he had in the first book. (I’m partial to bad boys.)
· I have to address the fact that this series is supposed to be about monsters, and yet…it’s not scary at all. Evie is like a sparkly Buffy! Her character does not have much depth, and the monsters act like humans. Even the so-called frightening Reth, a faerie and Evie’s ex-boyfriend, acts like a fluffy puppy! I think the problem with this series is that it is half YA paranormal and half YA fiction. The cover insinuates that the story inside is chilling, but really a cover that matches the story would have a Barbie-doll looking teenage girl holding a pink, bedazzled taser. The background would be an electric pink, with Comic Sans used for the title. All I can say is…yuck.
· Lastly, I was disappointed that Reth didn’t play a big role in Supernaturally. This comment sort of goes along with my previous two comments, about being partial to bad boys in the YA books I read. Come on Ms. White, just give me a little more Reth in the next installment.In the end, I have to give Ms. White props for not going along and writing another story filled with your run-of-the-mill vampires, werewolves, and faeries. Her supernatural/paranormal characters are more creative and unique. Plus, middle books are hard. I can’t imagine being an author who writes a fantastic debut novel that receives a lot of positive critiques, only to end up having to deal with the pressure of following through with an equally fantastic sequel. It’s a difficult job, and I have respect for authors who choose to put themselves through that.
And finally, I should explain why I’ve been absent (and why I haven’t posted any new reviews since May). The short answer is that I have been busy. Honestly, I haven’t had time to read much of anything. I started an internship a few weeks ago, which requires huge chunks of my time – which I spend editing, writing, and reading non-fiction. On top of that, I decided to make a new blog, where I record my experiences and thoughts about this internship. That takes daily upkeep, but I currently have a stack of books on my bedroom floor that I’m gearing up to tackle (thank you, Borders, for going out of business and having a 40% off everything sale this past week!).
So, these first two books I picked to tackle did not "wow" me. I'm starting to think that I'm just falling out of love with this genre. However, I have recently began reading Eon by Alison Goodman (which is not a recently published book, but has been in my stack for a while now) and so far I’m impressed. Ideally, I’ll be able to publish a review of Eon by next week. :)